Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says Joy FM reporter, Manasseh Azure Awuni needs to be patted on the back for his investigative piece on a car gift to President John Dramani Mahama which some have described as a bribe.
According to him, for the great lengths he (Manasseh) went to, to get to the bottom of the matter is commendable, but the attempt to link the issue to a bribe could have been better packaged.
The ace journalist, who was speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana show on Thursday, explained that Mr Azure Awuni, who has now been tagged as doing a dirty job for the opposition NPP by some activists of the ruling party, could have taken his time to apprise himself with the full facts of the matter before going public with the documentary.
Mr Baako described Manasseh's investigative piece as "a serious issue" for which reason it behoves on government "to take its time and explain the issues for Ghanaians to understand and put the matter to rest."
An investigation by Manasseh spanning three months has revealed that Djibril Kanazoe who is President and Director-General of Groupe Kanazoe gave a Ford Expedition valued at $100,000 to President Mahama in 2012 after he had won two construction contracts.
One was to build a wall around a piece of land for Ghana's Embassy in Burkina Faso at a cost of $650,000. Another was the Dodo Pepeso-Nkwanta road worth €25.9million.
The investigations further showed that the contractor was being considered another contract to construct the Wa-Hamile road on sole-sourcing basis.
The gift was given in October 2012, according to reports.
The contractor initially denied giving the gift to the president but when Manasseh showed him a letter written by the Ghana Mission in Burkina Faso confirming the gift, he admitted, adding, the president called to thank him for it.
When the news went viral, government, in a statement issued by the Communications Ministry on Wednesday, explained the gift in no way influenced the decision taken by government to award subsequent contracts to Mr Kanazoe.
The statement however added that the said Ford expedition was put into a pool of vehicle at the presidency.
Contributing to a panel discussion, Kweku Baako noted that the entire transaction of the said vehicle could have been tidied up to avoid what in his view is the unnecessary ‘public heat’ the matter has generated.
The Senior Journalist however told the show host, Randy Abbey that his "checks from an authentic source indeed confirms that the President is not using the car for his personal comfort" and that, as indicated in the Communications Minister's statement, "it has been added to the fleet of cars at the presidency.
Mr Kweku Baako, a known critic of the NDC party, said he knows President Mahama very well and that he will want to believe the President will be thinking on hind sight that, he should not have accepted the gift in the first place in view of the noise this whole matter, which in his (Baako’s) view is not an issue, has created.
He stressed that "it is also because of the kind of politics we do in this country that has brought us here".
Trappings Of A Novice Intoxicated By Fame?
The NDC Parliamentary candidate for the Tamale North constituency, Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini who was also on the same program described Manasseh’s documentary as unfortunate.
To him, the report is full of the trappings of a novice intoxicated by fame.
He added that he is inclined to believe the Joy FM investigative reporter has a personal agenda against the president.